THERE is 'no quick fix' for damage to the historic iron gates at Middlewich Cemetery following a second collision, its custodians insist.

The main entrance on Chester Road was destroyed a few years ago when a vehicle crashed through them and have not yet been repaired.

Now the side entrance gate has been wrecked after another incident.

Volunteers, who act as custodians and serve on Middlewich Cemetery Management Board have reassured residents that they are striving to rectify the damage at both entrances.

But, they say, it will take time as costly specialist materials have to be found to match the unique structure.

The cemetery gates and railings were made by Button of Crewe in cast iron on stone plinth, dating back to 1859, and are a listed building.

Board member Simon McGrory said: "Unfortunately a vehicle lost control and went through the gates on Friday May 22 causing significant damage. Luckily no one in the car was hurt or needed hospital treatment.

"We had to get temporary strong metal fencing in place for security. We are grateful to a local company who turned out and completed it over the Bank Holiday weekend.

"The front gates were damaged in a similar way a few years ago."

The board, made up of four Middlewich residents, has been working with an insurance company, Historic England and Cheshire East Council planning department to try and resolve the issue.

"It has dragged on because of the type of work and skill required," said Simon. "It is not a quick fix. We are quite a way down the road to resolving the first issue. I am very hopeful this second incident will not take nowhere near as long.

"We have to get to the end game. The insurance company has been very helpful. It is very time consuming to get the balance of restoring to a point. I am very hopeful we will get a solution this year."

READ > How 5 kind-hearted Middlewich kids are thanking our NHS heroes

Full access has been restored for vehicles and visitors to the cemetery and residents are being asked to be patient.

"I am not concerned that we have got a temporary fence in place," said Simon. "It has to be mended in the right way."

The square iron openwork piers with ornate finials, include ornate panels with quatrefoils, fleurs-de-lys, arrows and cusping.

Experts hail the gates and railings as a rare example of its period to have survived the removal of ironwork for steelmaking during the Second World War.

"This is the town's heritage," said Simon. "This is a very busy cemetery and we take pride in its appearance.

"We are very lucky we have a cemetery of this quality which is not controlled by a local authority which means we can make it look as nice as we want to."